Soldiers in Afghanistan christen new place of worship
September 28, 2011
CAMP MARMAL, Afghanistan -- Soldiers and civilians at Camp Marmal came together for the dedication ceremony of the new Camp Marmal Chapel Sept. 25.
For those in attendance, this Sunday morning, just like for many around the United States and around the world, was filled with song and prayer as the new establishment was christened.
"We have gathered here today to dedicate this chapel to God," said Maj. Xuan Tran, chaplain, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, originally from Vietnam.
"This chapel will be a center and important place where people can come together to worship and offer sacrifices of praise," he added.
Pvt. Amber Jones, a supply specialist from San Diego, assigned to Headquarters Company, Task Force Lobos, 1st ACB, attended the ceremony and talked about the importance of having a place of worship here.
"There are days when I'm down and not feeling good," said Jones. "I know this is a place where I can go to lift my spirits up."
Tran hopes that this place will have that same effect on others.
"Hopefully this chapel will be a place where people can find refuge, healing, hope and strength," he said.
The chapel that existed previously was too small to accommodate the congregation of worshipers that normally attended the services, said Cpt. David Montgomery, chaplain, 615th Aviation Support Battalion, 1st ACB, originally from Winthrop, N.Y.
"There was a need to have a chapel that would provide a comfortable environment for Soldiers and civilians alike," said Montgomery.
Throughout the ceremony, a small choir harmonized those in attendance with songs that were comprised of faith-inspired lyrics.
Jones said she enjoyed the vocal styling provided by the choir and said that the music 'touched her heart.'
One of the members of the choir gave his thoughts about the newly-minted place of worship.
"No matter where you go, people are going to praise their god in their own special way," said 1st. Sgt. Gerald Dove, the senior enlisted Soldier of Company C, Task Force Lobos, originally from San Antonio.
"It's important that we have a place here where people can do just that," he added.
Dove, who has been attending church since his youth, said he saw the ceremony as a unifying experience for everyone.
"I think the ceremony was great," he said. "To see different faiths coming together at once to give praise to the lord…there's nothing wrong with that."
Montgomery, who has been a chaplain for seven years, said he has noticed a new level of excitement among the faithful who attend services here as a result of the newly constructed facility.
"This place is more than just a tent or a building," he added. 'It's a sanctuary where people can come and be closer to their God."